UN envoy backs Somali president's dissolution of government

09:13, May 18, 2010      

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Top UN envoy for Somalia said Monday he would fully support President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in his decision concerning the government, following his acceptance of the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament, Sheikh Aden Madobe.

In a statement issued late Monday in Nairobi, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said he would like to see the former Speaker accept the President's invitation to join the new cabinet. "The President, in the face of a long and unnecessary crisis diverting resources, energy and attention, has taken an appropriate and courageous initiative to resolve the predicament," Ould-Abdallah said. "I would like to take the opportunity to encourage him in his show of leadership and invite all members of the Somali Parliament and former Cabinet to support him."

A bitter disagreement within Somalia's fragile transitional federal institutions flared over the weekend when Parliament Speaker Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur blamed Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke for the country's woes.

Lawmakers, supporting PM Sharmarke, announced the removal of the speaker of parliament shortly after he asked the Somali president to form a new government following a vote of no- confidence.

The parliament speaker then declared that Somalia was without government before joining Sharif in Monday's press conference and offering his resignation.

In accordance with the Somali national charter, supporters of the PM named Haji Shukri Sheikh Ahmed as interim speaker of parliament replacing Sheik Aden Madobe. "I trust that the election of the new Speaker will be open and transparent," the UN envoy said.

Political analysts have warned that the escalating political struggle in Somalia will bolster hard-line Islamic insurgents, including al-Shabab, to launch fresh attacks to overthrow President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government "The President can count on the backing of the United Nations and the international community at this present juncture. I caution manipulators and profiteers not to interfere with the current situation," Ould-Abdallah said.

Ould-Abdallah said this was an opportunity to appoint a more effective Cabinet that he hoped will be able to significantly advance the Djibouti Peace Process through improved delivery of services to the suffering Somali population and increased accountability. "I invite the international community to lend serious concrete support to the President and his future Cabinet. To that end, more flexibility is needed in the disbursement of international assistance to make it timely and more effective. "The Istanbul Conference on Somalia takes place at the end of this week and we all look forward to seeing President Sheikh Sharif at this important event which is being co-convened by the United Nations and the Government of Turkey," Ould-Abdallah said.

The Horn of Africa nation has been without an effective central government for more than two decades.



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